Page last updated at 11:45 GMT, Wednesday, 7 May 2008 12:45 UK

Key points: PM's question time

The two leaders clash in the House of Commons

The main points from Gordon Brown's weekly grilling by MPs:

  • Gordon Brown began by sending his condolences to a member of the Household Cavalry who was killed in Afghanistan on Friday.

  • Mr Brown was asked by a Conservative MP how long he thought he had got as prime minister - he hit back by accusing the Conservatives of ignoring issues of substance and listed Labour's achievements, to cheers from his MPs.

  • Conservative leader David Cameron said he wanted to join Mr Brown in congratulating Boris Johnson for winning the London mayoral election saying he suspected the PM had "secretly wanted to see the back of Ken Livingstone".

  • The Tory leader then asked about Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander's backing for a referendum on independence for Scotland. Mr Brown said Ms Alexander had merely been exposing faults in the SNP's position, prompting Mr Cameron to say he was "losing touch with reality".

  • Turning to prison places, Mr Cameron asked if Mr Brown would listen to the public and scrap the early release scheme. Continuing the "listening" theme, he then asked if Mr Brown would bow to public pressure and halt the post office closure programme. Mr Brown accused the Tory leader of misleading people by making pledges he could not afford to keep.

  • Mr Cameron said the government was lurching from one relaunch to the next and the country needed clear leadership. Mr Brown hit back by saying the Conservatives had nothing to offer the country but "slick salesmanship".

  • Mr Cameron returned Mr Brown's "salesmanship" accusation, saying Mr Brown had "gone on American Idol with more make-up on than Barbara Cartland" - to laughter from MPs. He asked Mr Brown: "Why doesn't he give up the PR and start being a PM?"

  • Mr Brown highlighted what he said were Labour achievements on things like the minimum wage, record employment numbers and children being taken out of poverty before saying the choice was "between a Labour government that delivers and a Conservative Party that just talks".

  • Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg used his two questions to call for "concrete proposals" on the 10p tax rate, which he said should be backdated. He told MPs: "When it comes to helping the needy he (Mr Brown) has got no principles, the Tories have got no policies."

  • Mr Brown said the Lib Dems were not proposing the reinstatement of the 10p rate. He told Mr Clegg to wait for the proposals. He said the Lib Dems had opposed tax credits, the minimum wage and other measures to help the low paid.

  • In response to a question from Conservative MP Michael Mates, Mr Brown mounted a lengthy explanation of why he believed it was necessary to extend the maximum time terror suspects could be held without charge to 42 days, saying he had seen evidence of the increasing sophistication of their methods. He said he hoped MPs would support the government's proposals.

  • On cannabis, Mr Brown said the drug being sold in the streets today was stronger than in the past and caused mental health problems. He said he believed the public would support reclassification, which is to be announced by the Home Secretary in a statement following PMQs.

  • Responding to a friendly question from Labour MP Sion Simon, Mr Brown said most people welcomed longer GP opening and he said it was "surprising" that the Conservative health spokesman would give doctors the power to block it.

  • Conservative MP Mark Lancaster asked how much a tank of petrol cost in Mr Brown's constituency. The PM said a barrel of oil was 110 and a litre of fuel was 1.10 and higher in some areas, and the government was doing all it could to get the price down.

  • Mr Brown said he was looking forward to celebrating the 60th birthday of Israel later.

  • Tory MP Nigel Evans quoted a poll saying Mr Brown should step aside for a younger leader - and called on planned fuel duty rises to be cancelled.

  • Mr Brown said "it is right that households are suffering" and it was unacceptable that fuel prices were going up. He said the government was doing all it could.

  • Tory MP James Gray asked if Mr Brown ever wondered why he had taken the job. Mr Brown said it was to create jobs and better public services. He accused the Tories of failing to question him on the substance of policy issues.


Gordon Brown The Full Story
All the action with key points, analysis and reaction from Gordon Brown's weekly grilling

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